Wednesday, February 22, 2012

una sorpresa en sonoma was thwarted in fulfilling my duty to taste an American Grüner Veltliner, because my favourite watering-hole in Santa Rosa—Petite Syrah—no longer had it on by the glass; but was rewarded with a lovely surprise.
first things first—I grew up and spent much adulthood (different from adultery, although I tried that a couple times as well) driving French-door Lincoln Continentals and fuselage Imperials (and a beloved black 1965 Chrysler Newport). I have always demonstrated an uncanny ability to whip any size automobile into any sized parking-space… but now the clever Sons of the Mysterious East have designed a new compact—the Mazda 3, which is by no means a piece of crap—where the driver cannot see the end of the hood or the end of the trunk (neither boot nor bonnet). And since my eye-surgery I am no longer blind as a bat, so perhaps have resultantly lost the proverbial sonar that went with feeling my way through life for so long. Sliding into a mooring in front of my favourite watering hole in Santa Rosa, I actually kissed the back bumper of the rice-burner parked in front of mine… True confessington.
out of respect for a bit of a cold I skipped cocktails, and since there was no American GV by the glass on a wine-list that was more up-to-date than the one on their website, I ordered a glass of the Kistler Chardonnay. Les Noisetiers—and I do love the Dylan/Band classic ‘Hazel’ from their album Planet Waves...
...never understood the fuss, never bought bottles, but have certainly tasted Kistler on numerous occasions. And the glass-pour came like it ought in a Burgundy balloon—just fine... I took one taste and summoned the server. I had ordered a half-dozen oysters au naturel, and said to the nice lady—out of respect for what are likely fine oysters, I’d better have a glass of that-there Albariño you’ve got with them. I always try to drink domestic and preferably local, but an oyster is an oyster, and deserves better than to end up in the bludgeon-like grasp of a monster CA chardonnay—which btw was just grand with a concoction of Squid and Chorizo which was so Portuguese it made me realise that I’d just left Newark yesterday…
imagine my astonishment when I later re-perused the wine-list to select a glass of red, only to learn that the really fine Albariño, which had gone perfectly with the Miyagi oysters, was not from Galicia, but from Napa Valley. ¡Holy Shirt! —hairshirt that is, to wear for the penance that I am due to do… Abrente is the name of the estate, and this stuff was really yummy. 2010 Abrente Stuart Ranch Albariño. Live and let learn. Peppery and citric, floral, mineral-laden—or so it would seem... nice length and grip—a great domestic buddy for the modern bivalve.

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